Hays County Judge Bert Cobb, M.D., today signed an emergency order prohibiting outdoor burning, effective immediately, for the unincorporated area of Hays County. The Judge also enacted an emergency disaster declaration to prohibit the use of certain fireworks, namely skyrockets with sticks and missiles with fins. The ban is in effect for seven (7) days, after which it will expire unless the judge issues another emergency order. The Hays County Commissioners Court could vote to extend the ban for up to 90 days at its next meeting, which is July 17.
Under the law all outdoor burning is prohibited except for charcoal and gas grills that include a lid and for certain exceptions approved by the Fire Marshal, such as controlled burns.
“After consultation with Fire Marshal Mark Chambers, who regularly polls area fire chiefs for input about the need for a burn ban, we’ve concluded that a burn ban is necessary to help prevent the threat of wildfires in Hays County,” Judge Cobb said. “The Keetch-Byram Drought Index was climbing toward and over 575, an indication that the ground is very dry and that vegetation has become a source of fuel for any spark.”
For more information about the drought index, a wildland fire planning guide for residents and outdoor burning rules in effect when outdoor burning is allowed, visit the Hays County Fire Marshal’s website at www.co.hays.tx.us and choose Fire Marshal from the Law Enforcement dropdown at the top of the County’s home page.